Shooting in Super 35mm?

January 26, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! How's your week going? Mine? Fantastic! At the time of writing this blog it is a week before Thanksgiving and I am already in the holiday mood! Too early for my brain but just right for my heart. This week I want to talk about shooting in Super 35mm mode or Crop mode as it may be referred too, I think Nikon calls it DX mode. What is Super 35mm mode? Basically its making your full frame sensor shoot like a crop sensor. Your camera crops the shot only using the middle of the sensor down to the APSC crop sensor size. Now why would you ever want to do this? Well I can think of a couple of reasons why.

If you shoot Sony like I do the crop sensor and the full frame cameras have the same lens mount. Which means you can swap back and forth lenses between each type of camera. Now why would you want to do that? One reason is just for practicality .  Instead of buying two lenses  one for each camera you only buy one that can be used by both. Usually people buy full frame lenses and use on both of their camera body types for the reason that the full frame lens is big enough to cover the crop sensor sensor completely. Full frame lenses are larger and can easily be used on crop sensor camera's but you have to add that 1.5 crop factor. Multiplying by 1.5 will give you the full frame equivalent of the lens on your crop sensor camera. The sensor being smaller its like cropping in on a full frame or zooming in. So a 35mm lens on a crop sensor would be like a 50mm on a full frame.  So now that we have that explanation out of the way back to the why would you need to swap lenses between cameras. I've recently started using a full frame camera again after years of using a crop sensor camera. Now I'm transitioning back over to a full frame camera. I have fantastic lenses for my crop sensor camera especially my long lens. A 70-350mm which is a 105-525mm equivalent lens. Now I don't shoot much past 100mm but if for some reason I need to shoot longer I could use this crop sensor lens on my full frame camera and my camera will know what type of lens is on and automatically switch to Super 35mm or Crop mode giving me that 105-525mm reach. This will save me lots of money on a full frame equivalent to this lens that I won't use too much. So that's a positive of Super 35mm.

Another way to use the Super 35mm or Crop mode is with prime lenses. Let me give you an example. Say I'm out doing street photography and I have a 50mm lens on my full frame camera. I see something a little out of reach that I can't walk to. I can push a button on my camera that I have programed to put my camera in Super 35 mode and it automatically switches into crop mode and my lens is now equivalent to a 75mm without me having to change lenses. When I'm through I can hit the button again and I'm back at 50mm. Very convenient when you're out shooting and not having to change lenses all of the time. Another great advantage of  Super 35mm mode.

So if Super 35mm mode is so great why isn't everyone using it all of the time? Well for one reason most people just don't know about it. Or maybe their camera system doesn't offer it. I'm not sure about other camera systems just Sony but I'm sure they have something similar. The biggest disadvantage to shooting a full frame camera in crop mode or Super 35mm mode is that when you crop into a full frame sensor you lose megapixels. 1.5 times the megapixels to be exact.  That can be a lot. If you have a 24 megapixel camera and you use crop mode its down to 10 megapixel which is small compared to today's standards. But if you have a larger megapixel like say a 60 megapixel camera your still shooting a 37 megapixels. So depending on what kind of camera you have I really don't think that this is such a disadvantage as smaller sensor camera's are.

Knowing what your camera can and can't do can really impact your photography and your wallet .  You may not need to buy that new equipment or gear to do what you need to do or you might just need to read the manual of your camera.  Hopefully I have brought something new into your photography. Until next week get out and shoot! 


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